DOJ sides with Irving Azoff’s Global Music Rights in antitrust lawsuit against commercial radio body

The US Department of Justice has sided with Irving Azoff’s Global Music Rights (GMR) in its lawsuit against the Radio Music Licensing Committee (RMLC).

GMR filed the suit in US federal court in 2016 for antitrust violations.

GMR’s complaint at the time said that RMLC’s US radio “cartel” controls more than 90% of radio industry revenue, while reaching more than 245 million listeners weekly.

In the wake of the DOJ’s filing on Friday (December 5), the PRO said that it filed the suit against the RMLC in 2016 to “challenge their stranglehold over the $22 billion radio industry”.

The RMLC represents the interests of some 10,000 commercial radio stations.

“GMR has consistently maintained that members of the RMLC illegally collude with one another to suppress rates paid to songwriters and composers for the public performance of their work,” said GMR in a press release announcing the news.

“We believe the days of this brazen, long-running cartel are now numbered. GMR has never been prouder to stand with songwriters to fight back.”

Irving Azoff

The DOJ Antitrust Division’s filing stated that “Competitors’ naked agreements to fix prices are one of the most pernicious forms of anticompetitive restraints that violate Section 1 of the Sherman Act”.

Founded in 2013, GMR represents over 43,000 songs and 83 songwriters, including the likes of Pharrell Williams, Drake, Bruce Springsteen, Bruno Mars, the Eagles, Smokey Robinson and many others.

“The work of these artists drives radio stations’ revenue and profit, but due to decades of artificial price suppression by the RMLC cartel, songwriters receive just a tiny slice of the revenue they create for radio stations,” said GMR.

“For over half a century, the RMLC has been the vehicle that the radio industry’s horizontal competitors have used to illegally collude and fix prices to the detriment of songwriters.”

“The court filing by the Department of Justice reaffirms the legal position of GMR and vindicates the rights of artists and songwriters to be free from illegal price-fixing by radio stations.”

Daniel Petrocelli, lead counsel for Global Music Rights

Daniel Petrocelli, lead counsel for Global Music Rights, said: “The court filing by the Department of Justice reaffirms the legal position of GMR and vindicates the rights of artists and songwriters to be free from illegal price-fixing by radio stations.”

GMR founder Irving Azoff (pictured), added: “Today is a great day for artists, who have been bullied by the RMLC since the dawn of the modern radio industry.

“Advocating on behalf of artists is our founding principle, and we refused to allow this unfair status quo to continue.

“We believe the days of this brazen, long-running cartel are now numbered. GMR has never been prouder to stand with songwriters to fight back.”Music Business Worldwide

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